Airplane Travel with a Toddler - Items to Pack

We recently took a trip to Mexico with our 18m daughter. I worried and worried about how she would be on the flight and where we were staying. She amazed us all at how great she was but I think it was partially due to my organization and preplanning of what to bring for her.

This is what worked for us:

  • Gift Wrapped stuff (even if the items aren’t new)

  • Small animals in a zippered wallet

  • Books

  • Stickers & sticker book

  • Crayons and small notepad

  • Fingerpuppets

  • Magnetic Sketch Pad

  • Paint with Water book and qtips.

  • Stacking Cups (this was great for bathtime, beach, or airplane)

  • Small Baby w/ blanket & bottle

  • Lots of snacks in various baggies & containers

  • Play Cell Phone

  • At our destination I also purchased some cheap sand toys which I left there since they take up precious space and are easily replaced.

The trick is to have many things and don't bring them all out at once. Some items were in my carry on and others were in the suitcase to be played with later.

Here's some of our items we took -->

A month before our travels, I put away some of her favourite toys & books so that it would be fun for her to see them again.

I also set aside a number of books and couple toys to play with on the car ride to the airport (we have a five hour drive to get to a major airport) as I didn't want to dig out the plane ride toys and have them lose their appeal.

Since we were travelling with my parents, I also asked them to pack a small item or two in their carryons. This was fun for her to discover what Grandma & Grandpa had in their jacket pocket or purse.

* Be careful with small toys on the plane as they are easily dropped and then rolling down several seats ahead. I didn't let her play with anything that I would be upset at her losing.

On a previous flight with her (at 10m), she was in the dropping-game stage. I tied ribbons on to her toys that we would use on the plane so that I could hold on to them while she played (such as her phone, rattle, etc.)

Other Needed Items:

  • Soother (brought a spare as well) with soother clip to keep from dropping on icky floor

  • Small blanket for naps

  • Sippy Cup with water

  • Spare outfit for her

  • A ziploc with diapers, cream, change mat, hand sanitizer and extra baggies (you don't want to bring the whole diaper bag to that cramped washroom)

  • Wetwipes

  • Anything you couldn't live without if luggage was lost - for us that was her sheepskin as that is what she sleeps on and is her comfort items.

(funny how my carryon used to be filled with all my stuff but now may have one item of mine)

Items I packed but didn't need (on this particular trip):
Toddler Harness - her legs weren't strong enough to walk for long periods and wasn't yet in the streaking-away stage.

Stroller - we brought an umbrella stroller but didn't need it. We brought a Hiking Backpack for her which got lots of use but wasn't sure if the stroller might be needed sometimes as well. I don't think we used it at all other than in the airport.

and of course packed more clothes than needed as she spent her days in a swim suit or diaper and washed a few items along the way.

It was a great memorable vacation. She had so much fun playing in the sand & water, can't wait for summer to come!

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